An email from CEO Mora Segal to the ANet team.
Tyree King. Keith Lamont Scott. Terrence Crutcher.
My heart is heavy at the start of this work day as we’re faced, yet again, with the brutal consequences of racism in America. At least 214 black people killed by police in 2016. I will be honest in saying that I find myself, again, at a loss for words, and struggling with so many questions about what to do.
As I grapple with how to make sense of senselessness, my mind keeps wandering back to an interaction I observed last week.
I was in DC and got to sit in on a coaching interaction with a charter school. At one point, there was a knock on the door. It was a 6th grade girl who looked at the five adults in the room with surprise and immediate shyness. The director of curriculum and instruction said, “Serena! Don’t worry about us, how can I help you?” Serena [name changed to respect confidentiality] asked if she could borrow another book from the instructional leader’s overflowing shelves of options. “You finished the last one already?” the leader asked her with surprised delight. Serena nodded with an ear-to-ear grin.
After Serena picked out a thick book and proudly shared its title with us, she thanked the leader and left. The leader smiled at all of us, put her hand to her heart, and explained that she had Serena when she was in 2nd grade. Back then, her literacy skills were two grade levels behind where they needed to be, and she would not willingly pick up a book. As of this past year, she is now reading at grade level; and she’s shown up at this leader’s door two times in four days because she just loves to read.
As this interaction with Serena unfolded, I found myself thinking, “THIS is what we are in this for.”
I share this story with you all not to change the subject or to sugar coat the current circumstances. I share it with you because it’s what’s giving me energy this morning to show up and do what I can to support as many stories like Serena’s as possible. This morning she is my hope, and you all—doing all the hard work you do to support her and her peers—are my inspiration.